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The Gift of Health is Keeping Me Alive

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gratitude

gratitude and health

Here it is June, almost half way through the year. I know many of us make New Year’s resolutions in January about being healthy. How are you doing?

By the way – I did a little research – did you know that 45 million people a year go on diets and that diets are the most common New Year’s resolution?  And, this was cool…. the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions started with the ancient Babylonians in like 2000 BC (found that on History.com) – thought that was a pretty interesting piece of  trivia to pass on!

Since most people give up quickly, I figured I’d look at some ways we can start to turn things around more positively in our lives in regards to health.  I started thinking about the correlation between health and gratitude.  You know, it really makes sense.  Health does link up with stress, as we read in Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking (see forum if you want to read more of the book review / discussion) On p. 152 it was written that “1/3 of all cases of illness in general hospitals are clearly organic in nature and onset, one third are a combination of emotional and organic, and one third are clearly emotional” and that long-held hatred can cause damage to a body to lower resistance and physical deterioration and that grudges ill will and resentment can cause poor health.  “Many people suffer poor health not because of what they eat but from what is eating them. Emotional ills turn in upon yourself, sapping your energy, reducing your efficiency, causing deterioration in your health. And of course they siphon off your happiness”, p. 154. So… resentment, fear, anxiety are the culprits and illustrates “the profound effect of mental pain on physical conditions” (p. 155). Dr. Peale even went on to note how recurring colds can even be traced to being angry or feelings of insecurity.

So, we learn that our negative thinking or harboring ill will can cause health concerns, but how does gratitude fit in? When we practice gratitude consistently, we are re-framing our thinking, so we aren’t automatically stuck in that place of negative self-talk that usually keeps us from moving ahead in all areas of our life.  We tend to think of well-being as mainly physical, but there are actually many kinds—financial, spiritual, career, community, for example—and they are all connected back to the physical.  A statistic from Dr. Robert A. Emmons’ book entitled Thanks! How the new Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier is that people who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier, more optimistic and confident and even did almost 1.5 hours more exercise a week!  So, perhaps there is something we should consider regarding positive thinking and its affect on our health.

Today I was reading The Magic, a book by Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret.  The whole book is about gratitude, and today’s chapter is on — guess what — HEALTH and Gratitude!!  As many of you know, I’ve working in healthcare since 1987.  I’ve seen the sick and sad — it’s one of the reasons I started TimetoPlay.com.  It’s no joke.  I don’t think anyone wants to wind up in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home), although I do work for some amazing places who provide fabulous quality of life to their residents… but, when you’re health is gone, sometimes you need to be at a facility for care.  In as much as the Administrators I work for are great and help the residents maintain as much independence as possible, you still loose some.  You can’t always get around by yourself anymore and you may become dependent on others to do the simplest tasks for you.  I agree that we sometimes take our health for granted until it’s gone.  As a matter of fact, Ms. Byrne even noted that we do sometimes realize how it’s horrible to lose our health when we’re just temporarily sick with a cold or flu.   Grandma always said, “If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.”  Ms. Byrne wrote, “being grateful for your health is essential to keep your health, but also to guarantee that it continues to get better, with increasing energy and zest for life”.   I, truly, am grateful for my good health and the good health of my family.

Today, please evaluate yourself.  None of us are perfect.  I believe we sometimes put so much pressure on ourselves that it hurts us physically.  If you were one of the people in January who tried to overhaul everything about your health – eating and exercise, all at once, don’t despair.  Every day is a new beginning.  Perhaps it is time to look for the primary cause of our eating habits or unhealthiness and start to make one small change at a time.  Maybe we need to start with our thinking, first. Perhaps it is time to be grateful for what we have and who we are.  Perhaps we need to realize we, each of us in our own way, are amazing and can accomplish amazing things.  Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.  Perhaps it will show in our good health and longevity.

– Doreen

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy – you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  TimetoPlay.com = resources for a better life.  Learn what you need to know and make a small change.  It’s time to Enjoy Your Life!

"It's not a problem, only an inconvenience"

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I have to admit it.  My husband, Jim, is the smartest person I know.

We’ve been married since 1988 and together since 1983.  He’s always been there.  My rock.  The guy who puts up with me and my crazy ideas.  Although he still cringes when he hears the words, “I’ve been thinking”, he listens and let’s me run with whatever I come up with.  We both share a passion for helping others and our community; hence the www.timetoplay.com project with the vision of people helping people and the mission to bring ideas to us “worker bees” to help make our lives better.

Unfortunately, we encounter so many things in one given day that we can become frustrated and lose site of what’s important and, sometimes, our ability to handle things we encounter.  Our lives are those of multitaskers, and while some of us are proud of the crazy quantity of stuff we can achieve in one day, I think it only increases our anxiety.  Many of us put a lot of self-inflicted pressure on ourselves.  We get tired.

Things that occur during the day can also create negative vibes for us and can shift us into being crabby or in a bad mood.  For example, my daughter was astonished at a person’s behavior yesterday.  She was volunteering at a charitable event and an attendee was absolutely rude to her.  I told her that there may have been a reason behind the woman’s behavior — you know, sometimes a reaction is because of something else that was encountered prior to the event.  I told her to let it go — it’s important because we don’t know the circumstances and the agitation is not necessarily against us – especially when you only encounter a person and they don’t even know you.  This person might have had an argument with prior to communicating with her, she may have had a hard day, someone in her family may have been giving her a hard time (it was a family event and sometimes these are trying when you have small children with you, and sometimes that, in itself is trying).  And, while it’s not o.k. to make excuses for someone else, it’s better then being caught up in their bad mood.  It has taken me a long time to realize this, and I have to catch myself from getting caught up in the moment (which does not always happen).  When you become frustrated, things can trigger you and only amplify your behavior (and you freak out a little).  I’m still working on realizing the triggers which push me towards a behavior I do not prefer, and sometimes it’s not until after the event that I realize what happened and, maybe, that I did not handle something the way I should have.  But, each day is a learning experience.  We learn so we can grow and change what we need to so we can have a better life.

And, many of us (me, me!) are totally inpatient.  Being inpatient, a hard day at work, or something else that we encounter during the day of high pressure that we inflict on ourselves really can wear us down.  I know, personally, that I expect too much from myself.

We are, after all, human.  I learn this from Jim.

After becoming exhausted, after having temper tantrums (admit it — we all do it sometimes!), he brings me back to reality.  “It’s not a problem, it’s an inconvenience”, he said recently.  Wow!  A light bulb went off and started me thinking!  Jim is a retired police officer.  He went on to explain that the only problem is when you have bullets flying by your head.  Good point.

I’ve always been a complainer.  After reading many self-help books over these past 2 years, I now understand that complaining brings negative energy to a person.  I wish I knew that sooner.  I grew up in a family of complainers, so  complaining is second nature to me.  In the mornings I’d usually list what the problems of the day were.  I always started it with “the only problem is_____” for my day — whether it was needing to get gas, trying to figure out how to fit things into the day time-wise, or making any statement.  Pretty much, something was always a problem.

One morning a few days ago, in response to my problem list, Jim gave me an example.  He explained that running out of coffee beans is not a problem, only an inconvenience.  “You can always just go to the deli and get a cup”, he said.  The light bulb again — there’s always a plan “B”.  I get it.  It makes sense!

OK, so I’m a little disappointed it took him 29 years to verbalize these amazing words of wisdom, but grateful he did.  “___________ is a problem” is no longer a normal daily statement that I make.

My mind triggers now if the bad 7 letter word (problem) comes out of my mouth and I immediately shift my thinking.  Realistically, nothing is a problem what a person can’t tackle by looking at it objectively, not just reacting.  When we just react it’s harder to find a rational solution to whatever the issue is.  And, I know that there is a solution to any problem if we just take a step back and figure out what to do next.  Although, after Jim’s words of enlightenment, nothing is really a problem, is it?

We make our own problems and worry.  I’m working so hard on stopping myself when I get into a cycle of down.  When you stop yourself and look objectively at something, things seem to work out.  And it makes for such a nicer day.

Hope your inconveniences are very minor and easy ones to solve.  There is a solution to any inconvenience.

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Embrace the timetoplay philosophy – you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to Enjoy Your Life!

The Serenity Prayer – A Challenge

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Did you ever wonder where the Serenity Prayer came from or what the intention was when it was written?  I googled and found this on a website  http://www.thevoiceforlove.com/serenity-prayer.html  and I have reposted, as follows:

Serenity Prayer:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  Thevoiceforlove.com further noted that the “prayer” was written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the late 1930s to early 1940s as part of a sermon he was giving and that the widely known prayer is abbreviated and the entire prayer reads:  Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

I’ll get back to this in a few moments.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days and talking to people that have made me think even more.  For example, I recently learned of an organization called Head Start.  How blind we are (I know this is true because so many people I asked didn’t know what the organization was) in our own Communities!  I have passed the sign a million times driving past.  I thought it was just a preschool.  It’s not.  It’s a place where children who come from families earning less than $17,000 per year apply to attend (and they have a huge waiting list) where they provide education and resources to the children and the families – the children so they can, hopefully, be on an even par with more privileged children when they start elementary school, and families to help them get on their feet and “make it”.  And, get this, the organization was formed in the 1960’s.  Think we should know about it?  I was speaking with someone yesterday and we discussed the Head Start Program, and talked about how it had been invisible to me, and she said that was because it was not in my reality, as it helps our society achieve and is intended to fight poverty.  Realistically, this type of program should be in each of our realities, which leads to point out that a major mission of www.timetoplay.com is people helping people.  We are all each others people and should care about each other and help each other.

OK.  More thinking.  My daughter is 17.  She has been telling me about children in her school who have given up and have no desire to strive to get ahead, they have a “what’s the use” attitude.  I was quite disturbed yesterday during our discussion, and this isn’t the first discussion of this type I’ve had with my children.  My 20 year old told me the same thing that he’s noticed about many of his peers.  Many of his friends, he noted, know that it’s hard to find jobs, and that many view the job opportunities as low paying without job security, and that they’ve given up before they’ve even gotten started.  And then there is the alarming rate of depression and suicide in our Country, a tabu topic.   The following national youth suicide statistics were posted on http://www.teachervision.fen.com/education-and-social-issues/mental-health/57131.html#ixzz1yQlQZiWt.  I’ve included the statistics I felt were most disturbing:    suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, suicide is second leading cause of death in colleges, that for every suicide completion, there are between 50 and 200 attempts, that the CDC (center for disease control) performed a Youth Risk Survey which showed that 8.5% of students in grades 9-12 reported a suicide attempt in the past year, that 25% of high-school students report suicide ideation (thoughts).  Probably the most disturbing was their notation that a recent survey of high-school students found that almost 1 in 5 had seriously considered suicide; more than 1 in 6 had made plans to attempt suicide; and more than 1 in 12 had made a suicide attempt in the past year.  And this is just teens.  There’s plenty of statistics for adults, including our returning soldiers, and the statistics for people with depression are crazy, too.  The CDC posted 7/11 that depression affects 1 in 10 US adults http://www.cdc.gov/Features/DataStatistics.html. These statistics and conditions show complete dissatisfaction people have in life and that they’ve given up.

Lastly, another thing that always has bothered me is how people jump on causes when it affects them.  How many people do you know that never worried about people affected by breast or another type of cancer until they or their loved one got it?  Or MS, or Diabetes, or Autism or Alzheimer’s . . . it’s an endless list.  I know we can’t all fight for everything, but shouldn’t we care about each other all the time?  Who is affected with a condition, who is struggling, etc.  Religious or not, everyone has heard of the 10 commandments.  One reads, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.  We’ve become so far removed from this.  I told you, I’m always thinking. . . I came up with something I call the Pilgrim Philosophy.  Early settlers relied on each other for survival.  We worked together to keep our communities strong.  We all had a job and a purpose, a place to live, food.  I feel we’ve become socially isolated, striving, alone for survival.  And with conveniences of texting, email, and other electronic communication media, we have less face to face time with others.  Could this be contributory to the statistics on suicide and depression?

What can we do?  First, this isn’t Doreen’s project to change the world.  She CAN’T do it alone.  This is people helping people, communities helping communities, businesses helping businesses, to succeed and to enjoy life.  We can’t wait for someone else to fix it.  The thought process of “Not in my reality” can’t exist.  Guess what — this is our reality.  And, ever hear of NIMBY (not in my backyard)?  Guess what — rich or poor, this is in our backyard.

So, how does the Serenity Prayer enter into this?  I think it encourages complacency.  Especially the long version.  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”.  Is there really something we can’t change?  Think about it.  I truly believe that working together, people helping people, we can change anything.  I challenge you — and all of us — to make things change.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  Check out www.timetoplay.com to get resources for a better life.  Read tips and read articles from amazing professionals to help you have a better life.  It’s time to enjoy life!

Happiness for Dummies: Hardiness (Chapter 6)

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The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

This book makes you think! The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do marvel that Happiness for Dummies is not a “dummies” book, that it does have valid content that makes you think!

Dr. Gentry described hardy personality in Chapter 6 of Happiness for Dummies– people who are resilient, who are survivors.  He noted that hardy people grow stronger, happier and more competent over their lifetime (p. 73).  Dr. Gentry described the 3 “C’s” – control, commitment and challenge which are traits of hardy people.

People with control are masters of their own destiny and take ownership.  They have commitment which helps them have a sense of purpose.  Interestingly, on page 77 of Happiness for Dummies, Dr. Gentry described how cultural changes have caused people to become disenfranchised.  Some months ago I started to realize that so many people have become isolated — maybe due to the internet, texting, etc.  He speaks of the need for people to reconnect, which is a goal I have for the timetoplay site.  Last is challenge — Dr. Gentry described this as how people look at stress.  He noted that conflict creates missed opportunity, and instead of people considering situations a challenge, stress promotes negativity which creates the downward spiral we’ve read about in past threads.  Instead we should all see stress as opportunity.

I did love this statement:  Anything worth doing is worth doing well (p. 78).  I recently went to a training seminar where they used “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.  It’s a really visual, though provoking statement.  It should make you strive to achieve.  I know I’ve implemented this into my thought process and have noticed a marked difference in my day. Happiness for Dummies is a great read for anyone!

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Embrace the timetoplay philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to enjoy life.  It’s time to enjoy your life.  Be sure to check out timetoplay.com for resources for a better life.

TimetoPlay.com Thought of the Day: Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and our actions. We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

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Positive thinking.  That is something that people advocate.  It has been suggested through books like the Secret that implementing positive thinking can bring on the universe’s power to change a person’s destiny. 

Positive thinking is hard.  Every day, life experiences can bring you down. 

Today’s www.timetoplay.com thought of the day suggests picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and moving forward.  Evaluating a situation and making a POSITIVE decision or change to facilitate a better way of life.  That’s the mission of www.timetoplay.com.  How can we go through each day without taking a few minutes to enjoy ourselves? 

Go to www.timetoplay.com and take the “Pledge to Play” — just start by setting aside 10 minutes a day to do something you love.  I’ve been working on doing this.  It’s not easy.  But, as today’s thought advocates, I will work on adjusting the sails.